Apart from security and privacy, one of the other main factors when choosing a good VPN is speed. After all, there’s no point in having a safe internet connection if you can’t actually use it. Every VPN service website you visit will claim that its VPN is the fastest, but that’s obviously not going to be the case. To help you figure which VPNs provide the best speeds, here is our roundup of the fastest VPN services around!
4 Factors that determine VPN speed – LCCC
There are a lot of factors that determine what speeds you get to enjoy after connecting to a VPN.
Your location makes a big difference in determining which VPN will work best for you. For online security and privacy, having a server close to you is ideal to reduce the drop in speed.
On a similar note, the number of countries and cities that host VPN servers will determine your VPN speed. A lot of the elite VPN services offer locations with multiple servers all across the globe.
It’s not only about server location, but also load. So even if a VPN service has servers close to you, there may not be enough to handle a lot of connected users and traffic. Heavy server load could reduce the speed you get.
Of course, your own broadband speed is going to determine the speed you get when connected to a VPN. Unless you are facing some kind of ISP throttling, a VPN service will rarely boost your speed. There is usually always going to be a drop in speed, and if your internet connection isn’t fast enough, the speed might be too slow to be usable after connecting to the VPN.
To test the different VPN services, I used the Ookla Speed Test and connected to servers closest to me in India, Singapore, the Netherlands, the U.S., and Australia. While a lot of the VPNs allow torrenting on all their servers, the Netherlands is generally a safe choice if you’re unsure of which server to connect to. For the U.S. server, I selected the one that allows access to the Netflix U.S. catalog.
The VPN protocol was set to OpenVPN (UDP), which is the most secure and fastest currently available. Since my actual speed tends to fluctuate between 70Mbps and 80Mbps, I’ll also mention the average percentage drop of the speeds I saw during testing.
Fastest VPN services
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access, or PIA, is a very popular VPN service mostly because of how affordable it is. However, it doesn’t compromise on key aspects that make for a good VPN. All the necessary security features are available, and its zero logging policy helps alleviate any concern with the fact that PIA is based in the U.S.
As far as the speed is concerned, PIA managed to impress. We’re not talking the fastest speeds I’ve seen when connected to servers in India and Singapore. It was, however, the fastest when connected to servers in the Netherlands, which is great for P2P, and Australia, despite how far away it is.
The U.S. server speed is definitely more than fast enough to allow video streaming without any buffering issues. The average drop in speed was at around the 40 percent mark for the servers closest to me in India, the Netherlands, and Singapore, and in the 60-70 percent range for the U.S. and Australia. PIA was one of the fastest VPN services in my testing.
PIA is currently priced at just $69.95 for the two-year plan ($2.91 per month), $39.95 for the annual plan ($3.33 per month), and at a monthly rate of $6.95. While you can still find some VPN services that offer a similar two-year plan rate, the annual plan and the monthly rate are some of the cheapest plans by far when compared to other best VPN services out there.
SaferVPN claims to be the fastest and simplest VPN service around, and I found it to be one of the fastest VPN services I reviewed. The apps are very simple and offer no bells or whistles. It’s very easy to install the apps and connect to the VPN. If you are looking for it, specific servers that can be used for U.S. and U.K. streaming are mentioned in the server list.
SaferVPN remains the fastest VPN I’ve tested when it comes to the server closest to me, with a drop in the 25 percent range. However, the fast speeds that I saw during my review when connected to other servers weren’t repeated here. While the drops were previously in 40-60 percent range, it fell to around the 80 percent mark when connected to servers in Australia and the U.S. Speed depends on a lot of factors, so it could go back up eventually, but this does show some consistency issues.
SaferVPN is currently priced at $78.96 for the two-year plan ($3.29 per month), $65.88 for the annual plan ($5.49 per month), and at a monthly rate of $10.99.
ExpressVPN is considered one of the best VPN services around, and for good reason. It offers everything you would expect from a great VPN, like a zero logging policy, impressive connection speeds, a large number of servers across the world, and necessary security features like the Network Lock, DNS leak protection, and more. The apps are easy to use but don’t compromise on settings and features.
When it comes to the speed, the expected drops in speed are on par with the fastest VPN services out there. Around 30-40 percent for the servers closest to me, and at the 60-70 percent mark for locations far away, like Australia. While you may not get the absolute fastest speeds with ExpressVPN, what you do get is consistency. The drop percentages remain similar when compared to when I reviewed it. This is the VPN I use, and I can attest to its consistency regardless of what time I’m using it or which exact server it is connected to, which is something that affects some of the other VPNs.
ExpressVPN is more expensive than other providers, but it is certainly one of the best VPN services around, and worth the cost. The price is currently at $99.95 for the annual plan ($8.32 per month), $59.95 for the six-month plan ($9.99 per month), and $12.95 for the monthly plan. However, you can save 49 percent and get three months free if you are an Android Authority reader (only $6.67/month).
VyprVPN is another popular VPN service based in Switzerland. VyprVPN may not be for anyone looking for complete anonymity, with the company keeping some logs like IP addresses and connection times for 30 days. However, it keeps absolutely no traffic logs, and if that isn’t enough, it is one of the fastest VPN services around.
The drop is actually towards the higher side when it comes to the server closest to me in India, with an average of around 50-55 percent. However, VyprVPN impresses when it comes to connection speeds in Singapore, the U.S., and Australia, with drops around 60 percent. While that range is about standard when compared to the other VPNs on this list, it did prove to be the fastest when connected to the U.S., which is great for video streaming.
VyprVPN has two different types of packages available. The cheaper one, priced at $60 per year or $9.95 per month, offers up to three simultaneous connections. The premium service is priced at $80 per year or $12.95 per month and comes with up to five concurrent connections, a dedicated cloud VPN server, and support for VyprVPN’s Chameleon encryption protocol, that is based on OpenVPN is ideal for use in China.
NordVPN is all about providing the best security features possible. Your online activity stays completely private with its zero logging policy and IP and DNS leak protection. Beyond that, you can take advantage of specialty servers for P2P and Anti-DDoS. For even more security, you have the option to enable Double VPN that runs everything through two servers. Along with its focus on security, NordVPN is also one of the fastest VPN services you can get.
Like VyprVPN, the drop with the closest server is a rather high 50-55 percent. Where NordVPN impresses is with the speed available when connected to Singapore. As you may have noticed, I do consistently get faster speeds with Singapore than I do with India despite my location. NordVPN has been the fastest in this regard, with a drop of just around 25 percent. The speed, when connected to a server that supports Netflix U.S., is definitely fast enough to stream video without problems. The only other issue is the connection to an Australian server, with a drop higher than 80 percent.
NordVPN is also quite affordable considering all that it has to offer. NordVPN is currently priced at $79 for the two-year plan ($3.29 per month), $69 for the annual plan ($5.75 per month), and $11.95 for the monthly plan.
That’s it for our roundup of some of the fastest VPN services around. I did test quite a few more that didn’t make the cut, but if you’ve found a VPN that works really well, do let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to test it out.
As I said, speed doesn’t lend itself to precision, as there are a lot of factors that go into it, and every user will have different experiences. The good news is that most VPNs on the list offer money-back guarantees and even free trials, so you do have the opportunity to test which service works best for you before making a decision.
Still not sure about which VPN service to choose? Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive reviews of IPVanish, PureVPN, SaferVPN, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN, and stay tuned for many more detailed VPN reviews in the coming months, as well as our guides on how to use a VPN and the best VPN apps.
Read Next: Best cheap VPNs
Best VPN Service 2018
ExpressVPN for Android is the best Android VPN app that we’ve tested. The service offers excellent security, with 256-bit encryption, an SSL-secured network, and unlimited bandwidth. The simply interface makes it easy to pick among the company’s 145 server locations, which are spread out among 94 different countries. And with excellent connection stability, you can use all your other apps with total confidence that ExpressVPN is protecting you in the background.